Grasshopper Soup: living the dream
Special to the Sun
Summer is still going strong, but the banter at the Bridgetender timelessly turned to the subject of winter. I was eating a chicken sandwich and drinking a Pepsi. Then Dave Kells, who was sitting next to me, uttered those revealing words so many of us find ourselves sharing proudly year after year. Those six words that slip from our soul, almost like we were reclined on the psychiatristand#8217;s couch, digging deep into our subconscious, trying to remember who we are, and why we are here. Those six words that seem to be the beginning of life as we know it. Those six words leapt from Daveand#8217;s heart as fresh as a newborn child, and the words were good.
and#8220;I had my first ski dream!and#8221; Dave confided triumphantly.
Everyone bellied up to the bar lit up and let out a round of jealous laughter.
and#8220;And it was a good one too. I was really ripping!and#8221;
It isnand#8217;t only in his dreams that Kells rips. Some of us were born to toil for wealth, and some of us were born to ski, born to live the dream. Who is wealthier?
This had to be the earliest I have ever heard any skier, born or unborn, proclaim The Dream. Perhaps there are skiers asleep in the cosmic ether dreaming the dream this very moment. Yes, more will come to carry on The Dream.
Dreaming of skiing in August is like frying sausages for breakfast. They wonand#8217;t sit still. They jump all around the frying pan kicking and screaming, and they are impossible to turn over unless you hold them in place with a heavy weight. Eventually they give in and cooperate just enough to come out exactly the way you want them. So it is with skiing. When your skis, and the snow and the terrain cooperate, even in a dream, you know you are where you ought to be.
But letand#8217;s not call off summer too soon. The green grass at Fanny Bridge, as thick as bear fur and soft as powder snow, invites me to go barefoot and massage the earth from which it springs with my naked toes. In Tahoe City, Fanny Bridge is a splendid park. San Francisco has the Golden Gate bridge, and Tahoe City has Fanny Bridge. There may not be much of a comparison between the two, but they both span spectacular waters and connect south to north, and vice versa. And people standing right next to them, sometimes even on them, may ask, and#8220;Where is The Golden Gate Bridge?and#8221; or and#8220;Where is Fanny Bridge?and#8221; And the waters that stretch far beyond them, Lake Tahoe and the Pacific Ocean, are sometimes even mistaken for one another. I have actually had people point to Lake Tahoe and ask me, and#8220;Is that the Pacific Ocean?and#8221; (OK, it only happened once).
Last weekend I was even asked if there was a surf advisory out for Lake Tahoe, and I thought he was talking about the Pacific Ocean. If youand#8217;re going to be confused, thereand#8217;s no better place to do it than here in the Tahoe Basin.
I have ski dreams in August and in February I dream of going barefoot on the grass in July. One of these days Iand#8217;ll wake up and find myself on the fresh green grass on the north side of Fanny Bridge. Iand#8217;ll look for shapes in the clouds and maybe see a skier. If there are no clouds, Iand#8217;ll go back to sleep. In California, where clouds can be scarce, that means chances are better it will be a nice long nap. Thatand#8217;s what green grass is for.
The full moon is casting stepping stones of light across Lake Tahoe, like hot summer days strung out between cold mornings. The moon hangs silently, whiter than white through the pines. I stare in wonder at the great sphere as if Iand#8217;ve never seen it before. I think of the national egg recall, and skiing powder through the trees.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 27 years.